Natural Sausage Casings - Help & Information
Natural Sausage Casings Help & Information
What are natural sausage casings? What are natural casings made of? What kind of hog casings and sheep casings are available? Watch the video, read the highlights, and post your comments or questions below.
What are Natural Sausage Casings?
Natural Sausage Casings are the oldest form of sausage casings. They are made from animal intestines, typically from sheep or hogs. Sheep casings are usually the smaller of the two ranging from 22 to 28 millimeters. The larger hog casings range from 32 to 42 millimeters. Our 32 to 35-millimeter hog casing is our most popular natural casing.
Why Do Natural Casings Specify a Range In Their Size?
You might ask why is this a range? Why is this 32 to 35 and not just 32 or 35? The range happens because the casings come from an animal and cannot be perfectly sized. The casing should fall between the range listed in the description and package, but they are not manufactured in uniform sizes. Natural Sausage Casings are selected and grouped together to provide as much uniform size as possible, but slight variations in the size do occur.
How Long Is Each Strand of Natural Casings?
Since natural sausage casings are not manufactured and uniform, there is no exact answer. “Home Packs” of casings typically have more length and size variance than other hog or sheep casings. This is done to provide a more inexpensive product. If you prefer the easiest to use and most consistent hog casings, Walton’s recommends using the 32.35mm Tubed Natural Hog Casings for most applications.
What are “Tubed” Natural Casings?
Tubed casings are the ultimate convenience for natural casings. They do not require sorting, flushing salt from the inside of the casing, untangling, or individually sliding the casing on a stuffing tube. Tubed casings come pre-sleeved on plastic tubes, making them extremely fast and easy to use. Simply rinse under water to remove salt from the outside, and soak in warm water for 30 minutes before use. Then, effortlessly slide an entire length of casing onto a stuffing tube and begin stuffing. Easily the fastest and most convenient way to stuff any sausage or bratwurst in a natural casing for up to 110 lb or more per package.
What Are Sheep Casings Used For?
Sheep casings are used for any type of smaller-diameter sausage and are often used for breakfast sausages, hot dogs, frankfurters, or even large-diameter snack sticks.
What Are Hog Casings Used For?
Hog casings are larger than sheep casings, so you will most likely use them for smoked sausages like kielbasa or German sausage, or if you are making a fresh sausage, you will probably make a bratwurst or Italian sausage. Still, any larger-diameter sausage can be made using a natural hog casing.
What Types of Packaging Do Natural Casings Come In?
We have three different packaging types that the casings come in. We have home packs, tubed, and standard “hank” casings.
What Is The Stuffing Capacity of Natural Casings?
Home Packs of hog casings do 25 lb of meat
Home Packs of sheep casings do 15 lb of meat
Standard sheep casings do 50-70 lb of meat
Standard hog casings do 110-160 lb of meat
Tubed hog casings do 110+ lb of meat
How Do I Use The Home Pack Natural Casings?
The home packs are the smallest quantities we offer. They typically are of a more inconsistent quality and length when compared to our regular/standard “hank” of casings. The price is much more convenient when making smaller batches of meat. The prep for the home packs is more extensive, which is the downside to home packs. Preparing home pack casings for stuffing is a three-step process. Rinse, Soak, and Flush. When we rinse them, we want to get all the salt we can out of and off the casings. Then we want to soak them in lukewarm water for about an hour. Finally, we need to flush them either in a little bowl or the sink just so that we can get water from one end through the entire length and out the other end to flush out any left-over salt. Then, they are ready to use and make sausage.
How Do I Use Tubed Casings?
Tubed casings come already strung on individual plastic sleeves. Since the casings are already individually separated, they are a lot easier to slide onto the stuffing tube on a stuffer. They do come at a little higher price, but I think are really worth the extra price for the convenience. They also come pre-flushed, but you will still have to soak and rinse them like other casings. Again, soak them for about 30-60 minutes in some lukewarm water before using.
How Do I Use the Standard Natural Sausage Casings?
The standard or regular “hank” of casings, sometimes called hog gut, are typically packaged in 100 yards per package. They do come pre-flushed but like the tubed casings, they still need to be rinsed and soaked in lukewarm water for about 30-60 minutes before using them.
What Makes Natural Casings Different Than Collagen Casings?
One example is that natural casings will give your sausage a more natural curved look. Natural casings also have a very distinct bite and feel to them. In addition, natural casings produce a nice, deep smoke penetration. They are also typically easier to twist links. Natural Casings are typically used for a more traditional type of sausage, but collagen is rapidly becoming a more popular choice, and Collagen Sausage Casings are the choice recommended by Walton’s for most applications.
How Long Can I Store Natural Sausage Casings?
Storage on our natural casings sits at about a year, but since it is not a manufactured product, time may vary slightly. Keep them stored at 40°or lower, and do not freeze the casings, which could damage them. If you open a package and do not use it all, try to return the extra casings to the original package and brine solution, but if you do not have either, bag the extra casings, add extra salt, and seal it. If you absolutely have to freeze the casings for longer storage, you may, but it may weaken the casing and make them more prone to breakage or “blow-outs” during stuffing.
What Is the Recommendation For Stuffing & Twist Link Natural Casings?
Make sure not to overstuff your casings because the pressure within the casing will increase as you twist link it. You can always throw in a few extra twists to firm up the links. Practice makes perfect, and it is difficult to explain in simple words exactly how full to fill a natural casing. Simply stuff and fill casings until they are slightly tight, and use the twist-linking process to twist and tighten up links. Remember, it is easier to fix an understuffed casing than an overstuffed one, especially if you have a “blow-out” while stuffing.
Watch WaltonsTV: Natural Sausage Casings 101